Rorisang Kgosana
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
3 Nov 2021
12:09 pm

Majority of voters believe elections were free and fair, survey shows

Rorisang Kgosana

South Africans seemed to believe they had to get the Covid-19 jab before heading for the polls as most voters were fully vaccinated.

Dr. Benjamin Roberts at the IEC ROC during his address, 3 November 2021, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

While 90% of the country’s voters had trust in the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), 68% of those who cast their ballots were fully vaccinated, a figure which is much higher than South Africa’s current rate of Covid-19 vaccinations.

This was announced by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) at the national results centre in Tshwane on Wednesday, where they tabled their Election Satisfaction Survey which shed light on voters’ experience.

The survey, which sampled more than 12,000 voters at 300 voting stations around the country, found that 95% of those who cast their votes believed the elections were free and fair.

But the general voting experience did not seem as tedious, with 68% of voters taking less than 15 minutes to reach their voting stations and 77% waiting less than 15 minutes in the queue before voting, said acting strategic lead and research director at the HRSC, Benjamin Roberts.

“Overall, 86% of the voters found the voting stations easily accessible to persons with disabilities and the elderly, while 7% did not. 95% reported satisfaction with the instructions and signage at their voting stations. 97% found the voting procedure inside the voting station easy to understand,” said Roberts.

While a large 92% were satisfied with the Covid protocols at their voting stations, 68% of those who cast their votes were fully vaccinated.

“Which is higher than the national average vaccination rate. It means there is a great tendency of the vaccinated to turn out and cast their votes,” Roberts said.

Studies this year by the HSRC in conjunction with the University of Johannesburg, on Covid-19 vaccinations, found that those willing to vaccinate were often found to have trust in the government and leadership.

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But in this survey, these factors were not really considered, explained Roberts.

“The willingness to vaccinate and trust in the government and leadership does have a strong influence on that willingness to vaccinate. We didn’t directly test that. We did research in July around Covid and elections and it showed a strong expectation from the voting public to get vaccinated before elections.”

The low turnout at voting polls this year was also assessed, with the motivator being “disillusionment” and disappointment, said acting group executive of shared services at the HSRC, Narnia Bohler-Muller.

“We will have to do more research to the nature of the disillusionment. We are aware people are dissatisfied with service delivery at local government level,” she said.